Chicago 2016 Announces Paralympic Development Program

Chicago 2016, World Sport Chicago, U.S. Paralympics – a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), and ten partner agencies announced Saturday the launch of the Chicago Paralympic Development Program.

According to a Chicago 2016 press release the program, which officially begins in February, is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is focussed on providing the visually and physically impaired with the expertise and resources needed for them to become involved in Paralympic sports.

Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, said, “traditionally, visually and physically impaired people face a number of challenges when they try to get involved in sports. There are a number of barriers, including inadequate coaching or equipment, or a lack of reliable transportation to training locations, which make it difficult to get involved. The Paralympic Development Program will provide expertise and resources that will allow more people to become involved with Paralympic sport”.

The program will be available in Chicago and other areas of northern Illinois at first, but eventually the goal is to replicate it in other cities across the United States. The USOC will provide national team coaches to lead ongoing “train the trainers” clinics for local area coaches interested in Paralympic sport.

The USOC will also be providing Paralympic coaches and athletes who will participate in clinics introducing children to Paralympic sports and providing them with the best coaching and equipment for each sport, said the press release.

At first the emphasis will be on cycling, judo and boccia – three sports that allow people with visual impairments as well as physical disabilities to participate.

Bill Scherr, chairman of World Sport Chicago said, “the launch of the Chicago Paralympic Development Program shows Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago’s commitment to establishing a long-term presence of Olympic and Paralympic sports in Chicago. We’re excited about the opportunity to continue to introduce Paralympic sports to the visually and physically impaired and equip them with the resources they need to succeed”.